Volleyball Sweeps Jackson State To Claim Maroon Classic Title
North Texas Wins School Record 11th Straight Match
STARKVILLE, Miss. – The North Texas volleyball team defeated Jackson State, 3-0 (25-13, 25-7, 25-17), to finish 3-0 on the weekend and claim the Maroon Classic title. Senior middle back Holly Milam was named the tournament MVP and was joined by junior setter Karley York and freshman outside hitter Valerie Valerian on the all-tournament team. Freshman libero Henrianna Ibarra earned best libero honors.
“[Milam]’s done a really good job transitioning back into the middle and you can tell she’s really comfortable there,” North texas head coach Andrew Palileo said. “The game is easy for her in the middle, and we’re a different team with her in the middle right now.”
After the Mean Green (12-1) built an early 8-3 lead in the first set, a string of six errors allowed the Tigers to knot the game at 11-11. North Texas answered with a 14-3 run to close the set, including 12 straight points. In that span, Milam posted three kills and a pair of blocks and Ibarra recorded a pair of aces. Milam’s sixth kill of the frame secured set point for the Mean Green.
“We came out more focused and with a lot more energy,” Valerian said. “I think we really established that at the beginning.”
The second set played out similarly to the first as Jackson State stuck with North Texas until the Tigers cut the lead to 7-4. The Mean Green rattled off an 18-3 run to close out the set, highlighted by 13 straight points. However, it was senior outside hitter Alexis Wright who led the team in kills during this run with three of her four kills. York recorded both of her service aces during the streak.
“Jackson State came out with a lot of energy in the first two sets, but once we started serving and locating our spots, we took advantage of the free balls we received,” Palileo said.
“When we know our servers have got it down, we hit better, pass better and do our job.”
In the final set, North Texas and Jackson State battled to a 5-5 tie early on before the Mean Green scored seven straight points, highlighted by a pair of aces for freshman defensive specialist Andi Elley and a pair of kills by junior middle blocker Jordyn Williams. Freshman outside hitter Barbara Teakell emerged in the middle of the third frame with four of the team’s five kills as North Texas built a 17-9 advantage. Fellow freshman Miranda Youmans posted a pair of crucial kills to set up match point, which was earned on a kill by York.
North Texas begins Conference USA play on the road against Southern Mississippi at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 22.
• The Mean Green’s 11-match win streak breaks a school record set at the end of the 2014 season.
• York has been named to the all-tournament team at all four tournaments this season, including MVP honors at the North Texas Challenge.
• North Texas boasts an 11-0 record and four titles in tournament play this year.
• The seven points scored by Jackson State in the second set are the fewest allowed by the Mean Green in school history.
• Elley’s three aces mark a career high for the Kansas City, Mo., native.